@ W W! Word at Work THE MAGAZINE OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY IN NORTHERN IRELAND SUMMER 2017
READ OF SURPRISING HOPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. PAGE 3.
Contents Summer 2017 3
Hope Lives on in the Middle East
A report of the visit from Dr Mike Bassous from Lebanon.
News from Guatemala
Another Year of Greatest Gifts
A tragic update on the ‘Free to Live’ project.
Your Christmas gifts achieved so much!
Meet the Staff Team
Regular Items 4-5
News Snippets at Home
Prayer at Work
News from Bible House and supporters around Northern Ireland. Pull out weekly prayer topics and additional Bible-a-month prayers.
Welcome Catherine Little General Secretary, Bible Society NI
The Bible breaks down barriers and builds bridges here in Northern Ireland and all over the world. I know the Bible as a book of hope; this is a message I have shared over and over again as I have spoken to churches, groups and individuals across our country and beyond. How often do we lose hope in what we see around us or further afield? My colleague Dr Mike Bassous from the Bible Society in Lebanon reminded us, during his visit here in January, that hope is a choice and as Christians we must choose hope. Read more about his visit to share stories of ‘Hope Unexpected’ from the Middle East on the next page. In this edition of Word at Work you will read more stories of hope from other places. Stories from Cuba where the Bible Society has plans to distribute 1 million Bibles. Stories from here in Northern Ireland with an update on work we supported in Maghaberry Prison to bring Scripture into that challenging environment. You will find information from four of our Bible-a-month focused countries where your £5 can give a Bible to a family or individual, to bring words of hope into their situations.
Recently Leah, Bible Society NI Projects Manager, spoke at an event for children as part of our link with Irish Christian Endeavour. She asked the children to pick a country and write down their prayer for that place. The result was a series of heart felt and very profound prayers from children with simple faiths who wrote direct petitions to God for places far away. We were able to share these prayers with our colleagues in Bible Societies in the relevant countries and my goodness, the impact has been powerful. These simple prayers brought encouragement and hope to teams of people working to reach everyone with God’s Word in very far flung places like Syria, Mongolia and Australia as well as closer to home. Prayer changes everything. Will you commit to pray with us for our colleagues around the world using our weekly prayers on pages 7-10? We are so grateful for your support and encouragement. Our work is diverse and challenging at times but it is also such a huge honour and privilege. Every blessing, Catherine
Learning to read in rural parts of Peru.
Cover Image: ‘One Million Bibles.’ Exciting project in Cuba. See pages 4, 11 & 13 for more!
Delighted recipients of Bibles. Part of the ‘One Million Bibles’ project in Cuba. Info on pages 4,11 & 13.
Hope Lives on in the Middle East In January, we had the privilege of welcoming Dr Mike Bassous to Northern Ireland. Mike is the General Secretary of the Bible Society in Lebanon. He also oversees the work in Syria and Iraq. Spending time listening to Mike was so valuable in gaining an insight into the situation faced by Christians in the Middle East. Mike works in a context where change is all around him and the Bible Society teams he works with. Yet they are able to promote the Bible as a book of hope, which will bring the Gospel message that has remained the same for centuries. Mike shared startling statistics of the scale of human displacement, the numbers of people who have been forced to move from their homes and the sheer drain of Christian people from the Middle East. Mike also shared unexpected stories of hope of where the Church in the Middle East is growing and reaching out to those in need. Stories of the many people who are becoming followers of Christ and how Christians are working together focusing on what unites them, rather than that which divides them. The Bible Societies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are working in very challenging conditions. As well as bringing the Word of God to people, they are also reaching out holistically to provide for the practical needs of refugees. Staff and volunteers are engaged in a Bible based trauma healing programme to help support those who suffer from ongoing trauma so that they can begin the long process of healing. The Bible is central to this process. Our hearts were broken by some of the stories shared by Mike during his visit but we know that through the work of
The Church in the Middle East is growing and reaching out to those in need.
Photo Credit: Jamie Trimble
A Message from Mike Bassous, Bible Society in Lebanon.
Mike spoke at a conference for Church Leaders in PCI Assembly Buildings – ‘Hope Unexpected’. Rev Uel Marrs (PCI Board of Mission Overseas), Mike, Catherine, Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar (PCI Moderator).
the Bible Society there, hope is being shared and lives are being transformed for good. Mike was here to speak at a special conference, ‘Hope Unexpected’ on Thursday 26th January. This was hosted through the partnership of Bible Society NI and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Mike also spoke at other events throughout Northern Ireland, starting in Ballymena Presbytery at their Overseas Mission Rally on Wednesday 25th January. Bible Society NI hosted two evening events for supporters to hear the surprising message of hope that Mike had to share. One was in Belfast on Thursday 26th January, and the other in Londonderry on Friday 27th January. Mike also spoke at two church services on Sunday 29th January – Church of the Resurrection (Church of Ireland and Methodist Student Chaplaincy at Queens) on Elmwood Avenue, Belfast and 1st Bangor Presbyterian.
Refugees continue to flood in to Lebanon from Syria and Iraq. The Bible Society is providing aid and Scripture.
Rev Dr Rob Craig, Rev Alastair Rosborough, Mike, Catherine and Bishop Ken Good. ‘Hope Unexpected’ event in Londonderry.
Amidst the war, the Bible Society in Syria continues to partner with churches to bring the hope of God's Word to communities across the country.
News Snippets at Home Bible Twinning In the last few months, we have been working on something new to help raise awareness of Bible distribution around the world – Bible Twinning. Two churches in Northern Ireland have been involved so far and have twinned their pew Bibles with Bibles in Cuba. Malone Presbyterian and Ballylesson Church of Ireland have both recently purchased new pew Bibles for their congregations and decided to also make a donation towards new Bibles for people in Cuba at the same time. In Cuba many individuals will share one Bible, often handwriting passages of Scripture so that they can reread or study at another time. The Church in Cuba has been able to grow because of changes in the political situation there but there are not enough Bibles. A project to distribute 1 million Bibles is underway by the Bible Society in Cuba. Could your church twin their pew Bibles with another country like Cuba? Bible Twinning will bring huge encouragement to churches and individuals in places like Cuba, reminding them that their brothers and sisters here in Northern Ireland care about them having access to God’s Word.
Grabbing a moment to read the Bible online in the office on lunch break.
#mybibleguide We hear that some of you are really enjoying this year’s Daily Bible Reading Guide. Will you help us encourage more people to join in? Send us a photo that captures your reading time with a short caption describing where you read. Here’s an example to help you. Please do feel free to take a ‘selfie’ if you are happy for your photo to be used on our website or in print. You can post your photo on our facebook or twitter page marked #mybibleguide or email it to us at email@example.com
We will be popping all of these up on our website, so keep an eye out here: www.bsni.co.uk/articles/373-mybibleguide
Catherine with Rev Kathryn Viner of Malone Presbyterian Church after they twinned their pew Bibles with Bibles in Cuba.
Malone Presbyterian congregation holding up their new pew Bibles.
Could your Church Twin your Pew Bibles?
A congregation in Cuba delighted to have Bibles at last!
Words of Freedom “Words of Freedom” is a Bible Study book, originally published by the Bible Society of France, but now available in various European languages. It contains 70 studies, written by prison chaplains addressing issues particular to prisoners. We were thrilled to partner with Rev Rodney Cameron (Co-ordinating Chaplain from Maghaberry Prison) to place 200 of these books within the prison. Rodney has shared about the impact they have had: “Since November 2015, we have distributed all but 30 of the “Words of Freedom” books. Many have been given for private study, and presumably went home when the prisoner was released. During 2016 in Bush House (a unit in Maghaberry Prison), the book formed the basis of a small group Bible Study that took on the name “Bush Fire”. About a dozen men from all sorts of backgrounds came to the study, led by various chaplains. Since Maghaberry has a surprisingly high turn over, some of our most eager students have moved on. It might be time to relaunch the book with a new lot of men, once the Alpha course finishes at Easter. In Magilligan, the Tuesday evening study in H2 continues to make use of the book. 7 or 8 men meet weekly. Here are a few of the comments they made about the book: “we find the book insightful”, “...probing questions”, “… provoking good discussion and leaves us something to think about”. My thanks to John (now retired), Campbell and Julie for their work and liaison, and to the sponsor, who kindly donated the purchase cost of these books.” - Rodney Cameron
Storytellers This year Bible Society NI has been partnering with Irish Christian Endeavour (C.E.). Children and young people all over the country have been raising money to help share the Bible. Every 30p raised is going to provide the Book of Luke or Acts to a primary school child in Northern Ireland through Baptist Youth’s ‘Amazing Journey’ project. Leah, our Projects Manager, has had lots of invitations to C.E. groups. She has loved getting the opportunity to encourage groups to become storytellers, to share the amazing story of the Bible with other people. She tells us: “It’s wonderful to get out there and meet the kids and leaders of C.E. groups. My highlights so far? In Lisbellaw, the eagerness of the kids to pray for Bible Society work all over the world. In Priesthill, seeing the ‘light bulb moments’ when the teenagers asked loads of questions. In Broughshane, listening to the children sing about the deep, deep love of God. It’s so inspiring to see the gifts and passions God has given the young people of our churches.” For more information about our ‘Storytellers’ project visit: http://bsni.co.uk/articles/346storytellers
News from Guatemala Alongside stories of human trafficking and abuse, sit stories of hope and healing. Girls in Guatemala, rescued from horrific circumstances, are brought to live in government run shelters. It is here that hope is rising as the Bible Society of Guatemala team offers their ‘Free to Live’ course. A child colours in at a ‘Free to Live’ workshop.
Last year we raised £18,238 to support this incredible ministry. With your help the Bible Society of Guatemala is running workshops and counselling sessions with girls who have experienced trauma. Each girl receives a Bible, learns about the immeasurable love that God has for them, and finds healing in His Word. Melissa (not her real name) lived in poverty with her alcoholic mother and five siblings. When she was six she was sexually abused by an older man. Melissa and her sisters discovered that their mother was charging men to come into their house and have sex with them. They went to the police. They were taken into protection, but unfortunately were separated between different shelters. Melissa was sad she wasn’t with her sisters, but she felt safer and has begun the journey of healing through ‘Free to Live’: "Since I started coming to the meetings I have felt a big change because I managed to get out of my heart all the bitterness by talking about what happened to me. They are teaching me through the Word of God, to let me be helped by God and heal. I learned to forgive and forget the past and live each day. God gives me the best way. I want to leave the home shelter to continue studying, go to a church and work. I give thanks to the Bible Society who advises us, prays for us and listens without judgment”. Girls are finding new life in Christ. Your support is making a huge difference in their lives. Recently we received a report that one of the shelters had experienced a devastating fire. 41 teenage girls died and 13 had serious injuries.
They are teaching me through the Word of God, to let me be helped by God and heal.
The Bible Society acted immediately, providing humanitarian aid, visiting the children in hospital, praying for them, and providing Scripture. Support groups were set up offering Bible-based trauma healing.
Bible Society staff pray for those in hospital following the fire.
The 500 children at the home are traumatised and have moved to other shelters while repairs are made. Bible Society staff and volunteers, who know the children, are visiting them in their new homes, bringing Bibles and spending time with them as they deal with this added trauma. Ms Palma, ‘Free to Live’ Coordinator says, “the pain is immense, the challenge is big, but our passion to bring hope through the Word of God is greater. We believe that we will see the hand of God comforting, healing and restoring the hearts of the children in this home, and throughout Guatemala.”
A volunteer works with a group of children brought to a new shelter after the fire.
Please keep praying for the children of Guatemala.
Children’s faces have been blurred to protect their identity.
Reading the Bible with a young boy.
The Earth is His “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.” Psalm 89:11(NIV). Let us remember as we pray that God is still in control. The earth and everything in it belongs to Him. There is nothing beyond His reach. Remember that as we break our hearts over the desperate state of the nations, God also breaks His heart over the cry of His creation. Thank you for praying for Bible Societies all over the world. Let’s keep praying ‘Your Kingdom come!’ FCBH: Faith Comes By Hearing - A programme providing audio Scripture for listening groups, set up through local churches. Good Samaritan Project: A Bible-based HIV/AIDS education programme. Workshop based, multi-media training. Trauma Healing: Bible-Based counselling for survivors of traumas such as disaster, epidemics or war. GS: General Secretary. OT/NT: Old/New Testament.
MAY 14-20 Burundi Pray that the first
revised version of the local language Bible will be welcome and transformative when distribution begins this year. Pray for the Kirundi Study Bible translation project, FCBH, and Trauma Healing. Ask for guidance, protection and provision for GS Marjorie Niyungeko and staff in an environment of conflict and poverty.
P @ W! Prayer at Work PULL OUT AND KEEP PRAYER GUIDE SUMMER 2017
MAY 21-27 Cambodia Pray for the Literacy programme and for staff and volunteers travelling to implement it in remote rural areas. Pray for Ruth Craddock, Acting Executive Director and team and the distribution of Scripture to remote areas and marginalised people. Pray for the impact of their Forgiveness & Reconciliation project.
local fundraising strategy in Rwanda and for the commitment of every Church member to contribute to the Bible Cause. Pray for the Trauma Healing programme and for more funds for advocacy projects. Pray for GS Emmanuel Kayijuka.
Vietnam Praise God for the literacy and distribution projects to churches and remote communities. Pray for the development of Scripture in sign language and braille for those who need it. Pray too for the efforts to reach children and young people. Pray for a greater freedom and new opportunities. Arun Sok Nhep leads the ministry.
Uganda Praise God for the
Laos Pray for Arun Sok Nhep
Rwanda Please pray for the
ongoing translation projects; pray for good progress. Pray for the team led by GS Simon Peter Mukhama and the many ministries including Trauma Healing, HIV/AIDS programmes and ministry to people with visual impairments. Pray for good partnerships with churches, for provision and new opportunities.
(also leading ministry in Vietnam) and all those working to spread God’s Word in this difficult environment. Pray for efforts to resource churches and reach minorities and those in poverty. Pray for the impact of literacy and listening classes, and for Scripture for children and young people.
MAY 28-JUN 3 Gabon Pray for the team led
by Executive Secretary Thierry Mabiala. Pray for ongoing translation work, the Good Samaritan programme for all ages, FCBH and distribution of God’s Word through various centres. Pray for opportunities to connect with churches, raise support and reach new areas.
Cameroon Thank God for
ongoing Bible translations including Podoko, Guidar and Mofa. Pray for protection over translators in unsafe areas. Pray that the revised Pere NT is well received. Pray for GS Luc Gnowa and team who also run FCBH and Good Samaritan programmes.
Central African Republic
Pray for the team led by Sylvain M. Ndjendolé in this very unstable country. Pray for an outpouring of provision and favour for their FCBH, Trauma Healing, Literacy and Sunday School projects. Pray for new opportunities to spread God’s Word.
Bible-a-month Project May: Guatemala
In Guatemala girls are being rescued from the sex and slave trade. They are brought to live in sheltered housing but often the care is basic and they are not provided with the right support to help them heal. The Bible Society of Guatemala runs the ‘Free to Live’ project in these shelters, helping girls work through their trauma and find healing in God’s Word. Thank God that there are organisations determinedly working to rescue girls from human trafficking. Pray that more girls would find freedom from the
enslavement and abuse that they are experiencing. Please pray for each girl that finds a home in sheltered housing. Pray that through the ‘Free to Live’ project they would find healing and an acceptance of the love and hope that God gives. Recently a shelter where the Bible Society was working had a serious fire. 41 girls died and many were injured. Pray for the staff and volunteers as they respond to this tragedy.
This month £5 could help fight against human trafficking and show love to rescued girls.
Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
JUNE 25-JUL 1
Canada Pray for the new strategic plan to minister to every province and territory in the country. Pray for wisdom and provision in serving youth, the immigrant population, and enhancing Bible Society presence in Canada’s cities. Pray for the large staff team, volunteers, Board and National Director Jonathan Dent.
West Indies Please pray that funding will be found to enable the organisation to become self-sustainable. Pray that nothing will hinder the provision of Scriptures to those who need them. GS Courtney Stewart leads this ministry across the following island countries: Jamaica, Bahamas, Belize, Turks & Caicos Islands, and Cayman Islands.
South Pacific 13 countries are included in South Pacific Bible Society; Fiji is one of these. Thank God for the witness that practical help has shown the people of Fiji. Praise God for the role of the Bible Society in helping Fijian people rebuild their lives after Tropical Cyclone Winston last year. Pray for GS Solomone Duru and team.
Israel Pray for protection on GS Victor Kalisher and team as they reach out with God’s Word. Pray for work on recording the Hebrew OT, for greater interest in the Bible Exhibition and Media Centre , and for opportunities to share with students and schools. Pray for ministry to foreign workers and refugees and for increased impact through the bookshops.
Guatemala Please pray for GS Saúl Sosa Urízar and the team reaching victims of violence, so that they can recover through hope in God and His Word. Pray also for Bible translations into indigenous languages and accompanying literacy classes. Pray for the sensitive partnerships to reach orphaned, abandoned and trafficked children.
Tuvalu & Vanuatu Part of the South Pacific Bible Society. Praise God for the revised Tuvalu Bible launched in November 2016. Pray that the people of Tuvalu will be drawn closer to the Lord. Praise God for the support of churches and other Christian organisations. Pray for plans to assist women and young people find jobs.
Palestine Please keep praying for peace in the country as well as for the salvation and restoration of the Palestinian people. Pray also for the impact of Bible Day, an annual event that brings together many churches around the Word of God. Pray for ministry into Gaza, especially for what remains of the Christian community there. Mr Nashat Filmon is GS.
America Pray for CEO Roy Peterson and the large team as they encourage people to discover and engage with God’s Word. Pray for Trauma Healing programmes and for plans for a Faith and Liberty Discovery Centre in Philadelphia. Praise God for the fundraising that this huge team achieves for worldwide ministry. Mexico Ask God to guide the staff led by GS Julio Splinker Martinez. Pray for a number of ongoing translations, including Sign Language. Pray for ministry to people with visual disabilities, vulnerable children and indigenous language communities. Pray too for FCBH and domestic violence programmes.
“The Heavens are yours, and yours also the earth” Psalm 89:11
El Salvador Please ask God to help GS Pablo Gonzalez and team spread the Bible's message, especially among children, young people and victims of domestic violence. Pray that God’s hope will heal broken hearts and families. Pray that God will break the hold of violent gangs and crime.
New Zealand Give thanks for the Pass It On campaign, which encourages Christians to share their passion for the Bible with children and youth. Pray for CEO Francis Burdett, staff and Board as they raise support for Bible ministries around the world. Give thanks for the local action groups made up of volunteers.
Praise God for the many ways lives are changing.
Keep on praying! Thank you.
Arab Israeli Pray for the team led by Director Dina Katanacho. They are based in their Scripture Community Centre in Galilee. Pray that this Centre will be a source of blessing to all, helping create accessibility and supporting ministries. Pray for work to support women, families and young people especially.
Bible-a-month Project June: South Sudan
is difficult working with children who • Ithave experienced trauma. Pray that
church leaders will receive the training and resources they need to equip them for this task. The Bible Society in South Sudan has been working in very difficult circumstances since it opened in 2012. There is ongoing conflict and staff have been continuing work while family members stay in refugee camps. Now the country faces famine. Pray for those faithfully carrying out God’s work in a country where people need hope.
Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
This month £5 could help equip the church in South Sudan to share God’s message of hope to children who have suffered.
Photo Credit: Claire Kendall
The Bible Society in South Sudan is working with children who have experienced trauma – those who have been displaced as they tried to escape violence, and those who have suffered from abduction and rape. Training and resources are provided to help set up Trauma Healing programmes so that children can be reached with the message of hope in God’s Word. Pray for the children of South Sudan, for God’s protection on their lives and that they would know His love and care in the midst of conflict.
Serbia Ms. Vera Mitic is responsible for this ministry. Pray for translation of the OT into modern Serbian and for the work to begin a NT for the Romani community. Pray for the distribution of Children’s Scriptures and that new premises might be secured in which to expand the ministry.
Côte d’Ivoire Baoulé and Akye Bible translation projects should be completed by the end of 2017. Pray for the teams overseeing these and for NT projects being developed. Ask God to provide for projects and a new building. Remember other ministries including FCBH and Good Samaritan, and the team led by GS Dominique N’Gbesso.
China Thank God for the strong cooperation with the Church in China. Pray for translators and funding for minority language Bible translation projects. Give thanks that millions of Bibles are being printed each year. Pray for partner development and promotion of the Bible App. Pray for Director Wee Seng Kua and team.
Eritrea Please ask God to bless the Bible Work in this country so that His Word can reach the hearts of the entire population. Pray for the ongoing work to translate the Bible into the Blin language. Pray for GS Minasse Haileab and the Board. Ask for new opportunities and provision.
Romania Please ask God to bless the various ministries including bringing comfort to cancer patients, reaching into prisons and sharing God’s Word in relevant formats with young people and children. Pray too for the programme to help people heal from trauma. Pray for the team led by GS Mrs. Emilia Iorgandopol.
Liberia Thank God for the team led by GS Paul Stevens. Pray for their efforts to bring Scripture to new believers and their ongoing work on one NT and two full Bible translation projects. Pray for good partnerships, clear vision, provision and new opportunities.
Hong Kong Pray for this team developing digital products for their website and smartphone platforms which could resource Chinese populations around the world. This could also encourage local Chinese populations to connect with their local Bible Societies. Pray for Acting GS Igantius Lee Tseun Yuen and team.
Moldova Thank God for distribution of Scriptures through projects to the elderly, libraries, youth, prisoners, the needy and others. May everyone who receives and reads the Bible apply its teachings to their daily lives. Pray for the staff led by GS Mr Anton Placinta and for political and economic stability in the country.
Sierra Leone Pray for Executive Secretary Christiana Jones and the whole team. Pray for the Scriptures being distributed through Alpha courses, HIV/ AIDS programmes and FCBH ministries. Give thanks for the many opportunities to reach people in need. Pray that God would meet their need of a new distribution van.
Taiwan Please pray for the activities and Bible Forums organised to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Taiwan Bible Society. Pray that the Lord will touch many hearts during the events. Remember GS Daniel Cheng and team. Pray for ongoing work to finish the first Chinese Union Version Study Bible.
Croatia Pray that the team led by GS Mr Damir Lipovsek will be effective in making God’s Word available and known within this increasingly secular society. Pray for work on a new Croatian Bible and for the sports ministry to reach young people. They are also operating ministry in BosniaHerzegovina.
Guinea-Conakry Ask God to help generate increased access to the Bible through various avenues and for people of all ages. Pray for the Toma translation project and the impact of Trauma Healing programmes. Pray for Executive Secretary Robert Iffono and all who work along with him.
Japan Praise God for the team in Japan led by GS Makoto Watabe. Pray for their team members involved in translation and distribution. May they be greatly encouraged and see results for their labour. Pray for the Bible library and that fundraising will enable more Scripture to be distributed.
Ethiopia Pray for numerous translation projects that are under way. Pray too for work to reach School children and youth as well as people in rehabilitation and those who are poor. Pray for FCBH and Good Samaritan programmes and much more. Yilma Getahun is GS in this busy Bible Society. Kenya Praise God for the achievements made by the team led by GS Elizabeth Muriuki. Pray for the ongoing translation and literacy projects as well as HIV/ AIDS and Trauma Healing programmes. Pray too for the efforts to reach out to disadvantaged children and young people with literacy and God’s Word. Tanzania Please ask God to bless the people who will receive Bibles through FCBH groups and Jesus Film showings. Pray for the Kingdom impact of Literacy and Good Samaritan programmes. Pray also that young women, adolescents and children will be reached with the gospel. Pray for GS Mkunga Mtingele and the team.
Bible-a-month Project July: Honduras
Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world. The Bible Society there, in partnership with local churches, are determined to influence the people, authorities and justice system with the Word of God. Bibles are being brought into jails and to the police service. People are open to God’s Word and already there are amazing stories of acceptance and transformation. Thank God that these doors have been opened to His Gospel, and pray that all who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour will be
built up in faith and hold strong to the life He gives. Please pray for all the staff and volunteers who are distributing the Bibles. Pray for protection and joy, and that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit as they faithfully carry out God’s work. Pray for Honduras, that as God’s Word impacts people’s lives this country would change from one of violence to one of harmony.
This month £5 could help bring the Bible into the justice system of one of the most violent countries in the world.
Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
JULY 30- AUG 5 Cyprus Give thanks for opportunities to distribute NTs to school children. Pray too for plans to continue sharing Scripture with the military and those who are living in Cyprus as refugees. Ask God to provide and open doors for new ministry. Mr Michail Chatzigiannis is GS here and in Greece. Turkey Praise God for the different ways the Bible Society are able to serve Him in this difficult country. Please pray that God would take control of the political situation. Mrs Tamar Karasu is the Executive Secretary. Pray for their bookshop and their efforts to make the message of the Bible known. Syria Thank God for keeping the Bible Society staff safe as they remain to minister in a country where more than 11 million have fled. Pray that churches will stand beside those in need by keeping their doors open to them. Pray also for Scripture distribution across the country, and God’s peace and love.
AUGUST 6-12 East Caribbean The East Caribbean consists of 12 island nations. Pray for the teams led by GS Owen Williams as they work over a scattered region. Pray for efforts to make God’s Word available to all who are still waiting. Pray for ministry to Secondary
School students and work to tackle widespread domestic violence.
for God’s help in their fundraising and Scripture sales.
Netherlands Antilles & Aruba Pray that the bookstore will be an excellent resource for churches and a place where God’s presence is felt. Pray for the completion and publication of the Papiamentu Study Bible and for all the efforts to reach children. GS Armin Elisa works here with a small team.
Lithuania Give thanks for the many ways Executive Director Vilhelmina Kalinauskiene and the small team here are making an impact. Praise God for the ongoing translation projects into modern Lithuanian and Lithuanian Sign Language. Pray for ministry to reach the marginalised and the hospitalised also.
Honduras Pray for the team led by GS Jorge Gómez as they seek to reach families in this, one of the most violent countries in the world. Pray for the project to stand up to domestic violence which is really a cultural norm. Pray too for the Scripture being distributed to police and prisoners.
AUGUST 13-19 Estonia Pray that Christians attending conferences and exhibitions will become more enthusiastic about the Bible and sharing its message. Pray for the radio broadcasts, that they will reach people with God’s Word. Pray that GS Jaan Bärenson and the Board will see doors opening for their work in this mainly secular country. Latvia Please pray that the people of Latvia will read the Bible. Ask that GS Valdis Teraudkalns and the small team will see ways to help their country recover from the painful social difficulties of the past and overcome its ethnic differences. Pray
AUGUST 20-26 Egypt This year the focus is on new activities for young people. Pray for the youth arts events addressing biblical themes, that they will draw teenagers closer to God. Pray for continuing children’s ministry, and efforts to make God’s Word affordable and available. Pray for GS Ramez Atallah, all the staff, board and vast network of volunteers. Jordan Please pray for stability in Jordan in the midst of conflict. Pray that people will interact with the Bible. Pray for the physical and spiritual needs of refugees. Pray that the vision of having a Bible Centre and a Resource Centre may indeed become reality. Pray for the team led by GS Munther Al-Namat. Lebanon Thank the Lord for the holistic assistance, Bible distribution and Trauma Healing programmes reaching Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Pray for the
Exchange programme, for prison inmates and underprivileged communities. Pray also for effective testimonies and the empowerment of the Church in the Middle East. GS Mike Bassous leads this varied ministry.
AUGUST 27- SEP 2 France Pray for preparations for the Bible Society’s 200th anniversary in 2018 and for the opportunities this may bring. Pray that the French Bible revision project will continue well. Ask God for new ways to expand the mission in France. Pray for GS Jonathan Boulet and the team he leads. Spain Pray for GS José Luis Andavert Escriche and the team who work to make God’s Word known in this secular society. May God bless their efforts to promote and advocate for the message of the Bible. Pray too for efforts to make the Bible available to all who seek it. Malta Ask God to help the spread of the Bible’s message in this increasingly secular country. Pray for opportunities to reach people who need God’s Word and for good partnerships to help them move forward. Pray for Mr Paul Agius and the Board as they seek to grow the ministry.
Thank you for standing with us in Prayer.
Bible-a-month Project August: Ghana
In Ghana people who are visually impaired are often excluded from society, from family and from church. The Bible Society of Ghana is working to reach this people group with the Word of God. Schools and churches are being provided with Bible books in braille, large print editions, the complete Bible in audio (solar powered MegaVoice) and magnifying glasses. Thank God that resources are available to help people engage with His message of love in the Bible. Pray that people in 10
Ghana would be able to understand the message they read or hear and that lives will be transformed. Pray that people who are visually impaired would discover their value and find their place in God’s family. The Bible Society is working with church leaders, helping them to find new ways of including everyone in the life of the church. Pray that relationships would be strengthened and resources provided to help with this.
Donate by text: send BAMC17£5 to 70070
This month £5 could help bring understanding and acceptance to the marginalised.
Another Year of Greatest Gifts Who would have thought that a little leaflet with alternative gift ideas for Christmas would generate almost £34,000 to reach people with the Word of God? What is so wonderful about this is not just that so many people have been, and will continue to be impacted by God’s Word, but that so many people here understand and feel passionately about the importance of sharing the Gospel. We simply could not leave you wondering what had happened to your ‘Christmas Presents’. So if you gave or received a voucher instead of a gift, be encouraged to know that your gift brought much greater joy than a box of chocolates or yet another jumper… Translation in Papua New Guinea Local churches in Papua New Guinea asked the Bible Society to help translate the Bible. With over 800 languages, this is quite a task! There are now 8 Bible Society translation projects and 14 projects running in partnership with other agencies. Greatest Gift support has covered the cost of 943 Bible verses! Not Forgotten in Ukraine Many people who are living with disability in Ukraine are confined to group homes and denied many of the opportunities that others take for granted. Greatest Gift has provided ‘Message of Hope’ New Testaments for 5,655 people who are living in group homes. Police & Prisoners in Honduras Overpopulated prisons create high-tension environments for prisoners and law enforcement alike. Greatest Gift has helped place Bibles with prisoners and the police force. 1,256 people in prison environments will be given Bibles thanks to your generous donations to Greatest Gift. Reaching Mothers in Bangladesh The Bible Society in Bangladesh is working with mothers to strengthen their relationship with God by ensuring access to the Bible. Greatest Gift has provided 1,077 Bibles for mothers who are learning to share Jesus with their own children.
‘…your gift brought much greater joy than a box of chocolates or yet another jumper…’
Bibles for Kenya’s Children 7,540 children will be given special Children’s Bibles through various camps and outreach programmes. Many of these children are from urban slum areas or poor rural regions. Noone there can afford to buy the children Bibles, yet many love to read about God’s love. One Million Bibles in Cuba Greatest Gift has contributed 1,414 Bibles to the goal of ‘One Million Bibles’ in Cuba. People are enjoying new religious freedom in Cuba and are crying out for Bibles. Churches are growing so fast that there are many new believers with no Bibles.
Once again we thank you so much for making the Bible available to so many people through Greatest Gift. When we join together, great things can be achieved.
Bible translation brings joyful celebrations. Papua New Guinea still waits for many more!
Sharing the Word of God with police and prisoners in Honduras – one of the world’s most violent countries.
Greatest Gift donations provided 7,540 children in Kenya with special children’s Bibles.
Many Christians in Cuba are still without Bibles. The ‘One Million Bibles’ project is helping reach them.
International News We are connected to so many Bible Societies around the world. It is great to partner with many others as we pray and raise funds for the work they are doing to spread God’s Word. These pages will give an update into a few ministries you may have heard of before. Hope in Syria Syria is never far from our thoughts. The situation there continues to bring news of destruction, turmoil and loss, and yet the Bible Society there remains strong. George Andrea, Director of the Bible Society in Syria, stays hopeful amidst the devastation: “We have seen God keep us safe until now and we really believe that we’ve got a message to share with the people of Syria – especially at this time.” The demand for Bibles is high. People are looking for answers and only God can meet their needs. The Bible Society team in Syria are working very hard on Trauma Healing Seminars. Doctors and psychologists are being taught how the Bible can be used to help people who are struggling to cope emotionally after so many years of war. This work is in addition to their large distribution of Bibles, Children’s Bibles and Portions throughout the country. At a recent event in County Fermanagh children wrote prayers for Syria. When we sent pictures of them to George he replied, “What an encouragement for us all to receive this beautiful letter. Yes, we do appreciate what young people
think and pray and to have them pray for our country really makes our hearts rejoice. Thanks for sharing this news with us. This is A young child in Syria receives a Children’s Bible. more than we could dream or ask for. Thanks for being and Bible books of Healing Stories with us in our struggle to were given to 100 patients, their keep our Bible Houses open and get families, hospice staff, doctors and the Scriptures into the hands of our psychologists. people. So wonderful to read how young children are praying for other Daniela, a member of one of the children. How beautiful!” groups, says “During this project I felt surrounded by love and I think Please continue to pray for Syria. this is one of the most important things in life, to offer and to receive Caring for Cancer Patients in love. At each session we felt a lot of Romania love, joy, warm hearts and support and guidance to find a new path in Last year in Word at Work we told life.” you about the amazing work being done by the Interconfessional For cancer patients going through Bible Society in Romania. They are treatment this project has helped going into hospices and sharing the immensely. Calin shares what it has comfort and hope found in God’s meant to her: Word with cancer patients. You helped raise £5,879 for this work. “This project was a special Thank you! In 2016 groups of patients met together in hospices and at the Bible Society offices. Each group, led by a psychologist, had ten members who were able to spend time each week studying the Bible and supporting each other. Through this work 80 Bibles were distributed
project for which I am thankful to God. We helped and supported each other and prayed for each other. We shared our experiences and our joy and sadness too. I reflected that humbleness means “to recognise God in everything and everybody”.
Members of a support group meet together to find hope in God’s Word.
For years people have shared single Bibles among large groups of people. Many are so excited to receive a new, personal copy.
One Million Bibles for Cuba – well on the way In Cuba, Bible Society ministry operates under the name of ‘The Bible Commission’. This is the only Bible distribution agency in Cuba that is able to reach all denominations and traditions with the Bible. For some years, we have been adding our support to the international effort to place 1 million Bibles in Cuba. Following many years of a strict Communist regime, few Bibles were to be found in Cuba. Churches were closed and left to decay. Praise God that since the country emerged from this time of oppression, many began to seek Bibles and attend church once again.
project. In a country of 11.2 million people, 1 million Bibles will go a long way. They have now reached the 75% mark. Pray for all the people who have been and will be reached. Reina is a volunteer minister in a small village in Cuba. She had no Bible for many years. She wept for joy when she was given a Pastoral Bible of her own, kissing it in gratitude. Reina is pictured here, overcome by emotion as she leans on the shoulder of one of the Bible translators. As people receive God’s Word for the first time, they are often incredibly moved, knowing they will never be the same again.
Reina receiving a Bible after many years of waiting.
It has been a joy to be part of the ‘One Million Bibles’ 13
Summer Appeal Learning to Read in Peru High in the Andes, dressed in the traditional costume of the Quechua people, Janet stands at the front of the class and begins writing on the white board. Her brightly coloured poncho is matched by others packed tightly into the little mud hut. Rows of ladies, sitting side by side on narrow wooden benches, watch as Janet moves the pen across the board, writing words in the Quechua language. Some ladies cradle their babies, wrapped tightly in blankets to keep away the cold that is falling towards -15°C. Many hold tightly to exercise books and pencils ready to copy what they see on the board. Janet is a young mother who learnt how to read when she attended literacy classes run by the Peruvian Bible Society. She was one of the first participants of the programme when it began. Now she wants to help others gain the skills that someone taught her, and so she patiently leads this class of fifteen students.
I couldn’t even hold a pencil There are many people in Peru who have a similar story to Janet. Illiteracy is a big issue, especially in the rural areas and particularly among women. Traditionally families prioritise the education of boys over girls, so women grow up without the skills of reading and writing. Since 2005 the Peruvian Bible Society has been tackling this issue. By establishing Bible-based literacy classes in the Quechua language, men, women and children are learning how to read and write in their heart language. “When I started coming to the literacy classes, I couldn’t read or write; I couldn’t even hold a pencil. Now I can write and identify words. In community meetings, I’d always look for someone to write my name and I’d add
my fingerprint. Now I can write my own signature.” Juan de la Cruz But these classes do more than teach people how to read. The highest illiteracy rates are in the poorest of areas, and sadly, poverty, illiteracy and domestic violence go hand-in-hand. Women are growing up in fear and with low self-esteem in a male dominated culture. Bible-based literacy classes are teaching people how to have healthy relationships. The Peruvian Bible Society was determined that women would learn their value and so materials have been put together specifically to give Biblical teachings on respect, love, communication and forgiveness. Women are helped to develop their self-esteem and build healthy families. When women learn how to read, they recognise their worth. There is such empowerment in a skill that is taken for granted in Northern Ireland.
Now I can read the Bible Transita is a pastor’s wife and has been faithfully attending literacy classes. She says that before coming to the literacy classes in Quechua, she had her Bible but it was simply something she carried around and looked at without understanding what it said. She was sorry not to be able to read it, but when she began coming to the literacy classes in Quechua, little by little she learned the letters and could then make out words. “Now I can read the Bible, I can sing following along in my hymnbook, and the nicest thing is that I can do the Bible readings in the services. I am very grateful to God and the Peruvian Bible Society for teaching me to read.” It is difficult for the Peruvian Bible Society to reach people like Transita. The roads are not easy in these mountainous regions and there is little support from the government. By working with various Quechua associations and with the local churches the Bible Society can get the literacy materials to the rural areas. Volunteers in the churches are equipped to set up classes and are supported by the staff of the Bible Society. These volunteers might be church leaders, women like Janet who have benefitted from the classes themselves, or even children as young as eleven who encourage their friends to learn.
A Quechua group in traditional dress attend a literacy class.
“I used to take the Bible to church, but I didn’t know how to read” – Pastor’s wife. Quechua families are learning how to build strong relationships.
YOU CAN HELP The Quechua people of Peru are so grateful for this project that has brought change to their communities. You can help ensure that these literacy classes continue. Just £5 will help the Peruvian Bible Society supply a Quechua Bible to someone in a literacy class. This will not only help them learn how to read but empower them through the life changing Word of God. If you want to make a difference in the Quechua communities of Peru please fill in the cover sheet that came with your magazine and send your gift to Bible Society NI. Your support means so much.
Members of a literacy class in Peru.
If you would like to make a donation by text, send WATW17£10 to 70070 There is no charge for this service, so your full donation by text will go to the project. The Quechua people are so pleased to have the Bible in their own language.
Our Staff Team Catherine Little General Secretary Catherine leads the work of the Bible Society NI. She manages the team, works with the Board and builds relationships with other partner agencies. She is constantly working to strengthen relationships that feed kingdom growth, whether here at home or on the other side of the world. Part of her role is also to contribute to discussions within the United Bible Societies Fellowship. Catherineâ€™s role is so varied â€“ no two days are ever the same.
Leah McKibben Projects Manager Leah communicates with Bible Societies all around the world, finding out what projects we can partner with and how to support them. She speaks to churches and groups, creates fundraising resources, keeps our Bible-a-month partners informed, and looks after our social media. Leah loves opening the Bible and inspiring people with life changing stories from around the world.
Campbell Moore Office Manager
Campbell looks after all
things financial, from donations to payroll, from Direct Debits to Gift Aid. As well as keeping the accounts in order, Campbell manages our database, keeping your records up to date. Campbell also sources Scripture in English and many other languages. He is happy to help people find the Bible in a language they need. If you pop into the office or ring up with an enquiry, Campbell will probably be the first to greet you.
Julie Hutchinson Communications Manager (part-time) Julie is responsible for the Word at Work magazine, Direct Mail Letters, prayer material and other print and online publications. She spends a lot of her time writing, researching and collating information. Julie liaises with designers, printers and the Mailing House to keep you up to date with the amazing work God is doing through Bible Societies around the world.
Word at Work
27 Howard Street, Belfast, BT1 6NB Telephone: 028 9032 6577 email: firstname.lastname@example.org GSec@bsni.co.uk web: www.bsni.co.uk Find us on Facebook and Twitter Charity Commission No. NIC102557
THE MAGAZINE OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY IN NORTHERN IRELAND SUMMER 2017
Published in January, May and September. Circulation 11,000 12,000
The Magazine of the Bible Society in Northern Ireland